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UIDAI introduces ‘Virtual ID’ to strengthen the privacy & Security of Aadhaar data

Government’s flagship program Aadhaar is surrounded by many privacy issues. Recently, UIDAI (Unique Identification Development Authority of India) introduced a new concept of ‘Virtual ID’ which Aadhaar card holders can generate from its website and give for various purposes which include SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12 – digit biometric ID.

By opting this method, users can refrain themselves from sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.

Now, for any kind of verification process 12 digit Aadhaar number is needed. However, once ‘Virtual ID’ comes into the play, which would be a random 16 – digit number together with biometrics of the users would give any authorized agency like a mobile company, limited details like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification.

UIDAI official confirmed that a user can generate as many virtual Ids he wishes as upon generating a new ID, the older one automatically gets cancelled.

Another measure that has been introduced by UIDAI along with ‘Virtual ID’ is ‘limited KYC’ (Know Your Customer) under which it will only provide need-based or limited details of a user to an authorised agency that is providing a particular service, for example, a telecom.

It is also important to note that a virtual ID is not ‘permanent’ like Aadhaar number; it will be a temporary 16 – digit number which will be mapped to a person’s Aadhaar number which can be cancelled or revoked any time. The Aadhaar issuing body will start accepting it from March 1, 2018.

From June onwards it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept the Virtual ID from their users.

Agencies those who will not adapt to this new system by the given deadline will have to face financial obstruction.

Aadhaar number holder can use Virtual ID in lieu of Aadhaar Number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed. Authentication may be performed using the Virtual ID in a manner similar to using Aadhaar number
A UIDAI circular said.

UIDAI has taken this move in order to strengthen the privacy and security of Aadhaar data that comes amid heightened concerns around the collection and storage of personal and demographic data of individuals.

Recently back, Supreme Court has passed a historic judgement that Right to Privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Right to Privacy is an integral part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty Guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution

To read more about the verdict you can also read https://rupeenomics.com/verdict-aadhaar-right-privacy-case/

The users will have to visit the official website of UIDAI in order to generate their Virtual ID which will be valid for a defined of time, or till the user decides to change it.

According to the UIDAI, agencies that undertake authentication would not be allowed to generate the Virtual ID behalf of Aadhaar holder.

As many as 119 crores biometric identifiers have been issued so far and Aadhaar is required as an identity proof of residents by various government and non-government entities.

For instance, the government has made it mandatory for verifying bank account and PAN to weed out black money and bring unaccounted wealth to book. The same for SIM has been mandated to establish the identity of mobile phone users.

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